Ian Johnston was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA in September 2022. He previously served as the DFSA’s Chief Executive from 2012-2018.
From 2018 until his recent reappointment Mr Johnston provided advice and consultancy to a number of regulatory bodies across the Middle East, Europe and Asia, including on projects funded by the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). He was appointed as a member of the DFSA’s Legislative Committee in 2021.
Originally a lawyer, Mr Johnston spent several years in the private sector. He held a number of senior positions within the financial sector and was the CEO of one of Australia’s major trustee companies.
In 1999, he moved into regulation joining the Australian Securities and Investments Commission where he became Executive Director, Financial Services Regulation, and spent several terms as an Acting Commissioner. In 2005, he took up a position as a Special Advisor with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.
Mr Johnston is a past Chairman of the Joint Forum, which comprised representatives of the major international regulatory standard-setters (IOSCO, IAIS and the Basel Committee). He was elected to the Steering Group of IOSCO’s Growth and Emerging Markets Committee and was a member of the Financial Stability and Technical Committee of the IAIS, the global standard-setting body for insurance regulation. Mr Johnston was a member of the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Standards Board from 2011 – 2016.
Mr Al Awadhi has over 18 years of international and local experience in leadership, strategy and innovation across financial services, Islamic banking, real estate, and media and telecommunications. He is responsible for operational excellence at the DFSA by driving the development and implementation of world-class, innovative solutions and smart initiatives.
Mr Al Awadhi represents the DFSA on strategic initiatives with Government entities and with local and regional regulators and international standard-setters. He was appointed board member of the Dubai Academic Health Corporation by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.
He is a member of the United Arab Emirates National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations (NAMLCFTC), He is also a member of the General Council on Sustainable Development Goals 17 (SDG17) and a member of the Dubai International Communication Committee (DICC) - a Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO) initiative. He is also an international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Assessor for Mutual Evaluation.
He plays a leading role in building UAE National capabilities both at the DFSA and within broader society. Previously, Mr Al Awadhi headed the Marketing and Communication division at Abu Dhabi Media, Priority Banking at Emirates Islamic Bank, and was Deputy Head of Retail Banking and Deputy Chief Marketing Officer at Dubai Bank, where he also managed Royal Banking and Wealth Management, Branding, Marketing and Communications. Prior to this, he was the Global Director of Marketing and Sales at Sama Dubai - a member company of Dubai Holding - where he was responsible for over 20 international markets.
Mr Al Awadhi is a graduate of the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development ‘Impactful Leaders’ Program. He is also an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, a member of Harvard Business School’s Global Alumni Board and a member of the Harvard Business School Middle East Alumni Committee. He has a Master of Law in Commercial Law with a double major in Arbitration & Dispute Resolution and Financial Crimes and Money Laundering, and a Bachelor degree in Applied Business Science. Mr Al Awadhi has published a book entitled ‘The Sustainability of Family Businesses in the United Arab Emirates – A Legal and Operational Perspective for Best Practice.’
General Counsel and Head of Legal, joined the DFSA in September 2015. She is the primary legal advisor to the Board of Directors. In addition, she acts as Board Secretary, managing the affairs of the Board and its committees. Ms Dandan also heads the DFSA’s Legal Division, dealing with all regulatory and other legal affairs of the DFSA.
Alongside these functions, Ms Dandan was the Dean of the two year graduate development programme within the DFSA, the TRL Programme from 2015 to 2020. The TRL Programme is designed to equip UAE National graduates with knowledge and skills in all aspects of financial services regulatory practice.
Prior to joining the DFSA, Ms Dandan spent several years as Head of Legal for the corporate and retail banking businesses of Barclays Bank PLC in the Middle East.
Ms Dandan obtained her law degree in the UK and is qualified to practice law in England and Wales, as well as in Hong Kong. Prior to returning to her Middle Eastern roots, Ms Dandan spent several years working for international law firms in both London and Hong Kong.
Managing Director, Supervision joined the DFSA in January 2020. He is responsible for providing an effective and efficient risk-based authorisation and supervision strategy for the DFSA consistent with the DFSA’s strategic and business objectives.
Mr Baldacchino’s international career in finance spans more than 20 years. Mr Baldacchino was a career banker prior to joining the DFSA and has in-depth knowledge of regulatory interpretation, liaison and implementation. Mr Baldacchino has significant experience in private, commercial, corporate , institutional and investment banking focusing on regulatory affairs, compliance, credit, operational risk, governance, AML, capital and acquisitions.
Before joining the DFSA, he served as the Head of Regulatory Compliance for ANZ Bank, leading the strategic management of regulator relationships in Australia. Prior to that, he was based in Hong Kong where he worked for JP Morgan as the Executive Director, Head of International Operational Risk, APAC. In this role he held overall responsibility for International Operational Risk for APAC across all business lines for JP Morgan. Mr Baldacchino defined and drove the Operational Risk control, capital and regulatory governance framework across 14 countries in APAC. Prior to this, he also held the role of Executive Director, Head of Regulatory Compliance, APAC for JP Morgan in Hong Kong. Before joining JP Morgan, Mr Baldacchino was the Asia Head of Compliance and Risk Governance for National Australia Bank based in Hong Kong. Mr Baldacchino’s experience includes executive roles with National Australia Bank in Australia.
Mr Baldacchino earned an MBA and Post Graduate Diploma from Melbourne Business School and a Bachelor of Economics from La Trobe University. In 2021 Mr Baldacchino also completed the Global Certificate Program for Regulators of Securities Markets from Harvard Law School.
He is also a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and served as an Executive Board Member for the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists in Hong Kong for several years. Mr Baldacchino is also a member of The Basel Consultative Group (BCG). The group provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee's engagement with supervisors around the world on banking supervisory issues.
Senior Director, Head of Enforcement joined the DFSA in January 2018. Mr Meaney has 25 years of experience in regulating financial markets and services. Prior to joining the DFSA Mr Meaney had been a Manager in the Wholesale Enforcement Department of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for almost seven years. During his time at the FCA, he was responsible for investigations into Libor misconduct where his team enforced record financial penalties against three banks and two broking firms, and fines and prohibitions of two senior and five other individuals. Prior to the FCA, Mr Meaney worked in senior legal, regulatory enforcement and forensic investigation roles in Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. This included serving as General Counsel and Head of Enforcement at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and Head of Listing Enforcement at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited. He is admitted to practice Law in Australia and has postgraduate qualifications in Law and Applied Finance.
Director, Head of Human Resources, joined the DFSA in September 2015. Mr Sayed has more than 30 years of experience in Human Resources in the financial services industry. Prior to joining the DFSA, he held a number of senior positions including Manager Personnel and Administration at Emirates Bank International, International Human Resources Manager, MESA at ANZ Grindlays Bank and Head of Human Resources, UAE and MEA for ABN Amro/Royal Bank of Scotland. Mr Sayed has also worked at Black & Decker and in Arabtec Construction as Director, Labor Welfare and Recruitment. He holds a Higher National Diploma in Business Studies, a CNAA Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies (DMS) and a Master’s Degree in Manpower studies, all from the United Kingdom (UK).
Managing Director, Head of Strategy, Policy and Risk joined the DFSA in June 2012. He is currently responsible for overseeing the DFSA’s strategic planning, including its annual business planning cycle; the further development and maintenance of the DFSA’s policy framework; and the organisation’s risk framework, including the risk-based approach to regulation, setting the DFSA’s Risk Tolerance and mitigating non-firm specific risks. In the UAE, Mr Smith is President of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment’s National Advisory Committee, and a member of the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority’s Capital Markets Advisory Council. On the international front, Peter is a member of the IAIS Policy Development Committee and is also involved in IAIS working groups. He is a member of the Coordination Group, the steering body of the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), which brings together like-minded regulators to work on innovation in financial services. Mr Smith has over 25 years of regulatory experience. Prior to joining the DFSA, he was Head of the Investments Policy Department at the UK Financial Services Authority. Earlier roles in the UK included policy areas, supervision, bank resolution, internal audit and risk management. From 2003 to 2007, Mr Smith was seconded to the European Commission in Brussels, working on banking issues, supervision of financial groups, and the future of supervision within the European Union. Mr Smith holds a Master’s degree in finance from London Business School.
Director, Head of Markets joined the DFSA in January 2010. He is responsible for overseeing the DFSA’s regulation of market operations. Mr Douglas has over 25 years of experience advising on capital market transactions and supervising financial markets.
Prior to this role, Mr Douglas was the Director responsible for overseeing the DFSA’s regulation of primary and secondary market operations for 12 years. During this time, he oversaw the growth of the DIFC bond markets and was involved in many aspects of DFSA regulation including policy formulation, enforcement, decision making and strategy.
Prior to joining the DFSA, Mr Douglas was a Director in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in London and Moscow. During his time at PwC, he was responsible for developing its international capital market’s practice where he led many large cross-border listings transactions. Mr Douglas has held secondment positions at the UK Listing Authority and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
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